Had a ‘kid free’ night tonight at group. It was different, good, we should do it again sometime, but I do see some advantages in having the kids there, for us, but particularly the kids.
As stated a month ago I was planning to read a heap of books in my absence. I probably didn’t read anywhere near as many as I thought I might but I did read a Winton – Short Stories, not bad. ‘Trinity’ was good too, got quite Catholic toward the end but it fitted with what I was watching on TV and reading in the Bulletin at the time!
But one I am reading at the moment would have tobe one ofthe most challenging reads I have had for a while. Mere Discipleship by Lee C. camp.
One challenge in it that rang a bit true for me in some of our group discussion tonight was our inclination to ‘personalise’ and ‘relevantise’ that which may cause tension in scripture…example –
Lets say Jesus says
“Love your neighbour“
but I say, “Oh I agree with that, but in my situation my neighbour is ugly and quite rude, so…”
Or more significant,
Jesus says, “If your enemy sues you for your shirt then gift wrap your jacket and give it over“,
but I say, “that’s true for many who have ‘been called’ to such a ‘giving to enemies ministry’, but I have other giftings“
Or what about,
“Deny yourself take up your cross and follow me…the son of man has no place to lay his head…do not store up for yourself treasures on this earth…give all you have to the poor and follow me…“
I say, “Well, That is not about literally ‘material posessions’…well not for everyone, maybe some,- who God calls to, but I feel God has said to me that ‘take up your cross’ means that I have to work in this stupid job which pays less that $55k a year instead of the job with the corner office and river views, all because the boss hates Christians, I’m sure.”
Maybe, just maybe, these scriptures we read are meant to read like “Jesus did it like this, go and so likewise”
We may well end up with fewer friends, well, different friends. It seems to me that the really hungry and thirsty (spiritually too) became his friends, the ugly and smelly hung around him too, some rich guy (a tax collector) decided to follow him…but only after no doubt loosing his job and sending himself broke by giving all his money away. His own smelly fishermen disciples ‘packed up their nets’ (resigned from their jobs) to follow Christ, that’s some sacrifice. (we justify it by saying, ‘well it was their business, or read some schollar who has a ‘well researched theory’ suggesting the personal wealth of these disciples was astounding’ – right!) Good mates these guys turned out to be anyway, mostly they fell asleep then took off when he needed them the most.
So what is left for us? It does not look that attractive to really follow Jesus, I mean really follow him, like literally where did go? To the cross. He went to the cross. But no we should maybe follow him to the cross but not onto it, like he never said to take up your own cross and follow m…he did? I am meant to identify with Christ in his suffering?
Surly not?? But should I not ‘wait to hear from God‘ on that one? Maybe I could just look from a distance?
What? You think that sounds like an admirer of Jesus, a fan of his not a disciple?
Jesus my homeboy? My best ‘buddy’? Yeah what ‘buddy’ leads you to a cross?
Admirer or Disciple? Just how far am I willing to go?